Travel Promotion Act could save taxpayers

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tourism offices or boards are designed to market their locations with the intent of enticing travelers to select them as their desired business or leisure destination.

It’s as basic as it gets. Their efforts are geared to bring in travelers to spend money locally.

It’s an unbelievable fact that the United States has never had a national tourism promotion board or office. Just imagine the amount of revenue that could be generated by promoting our great nation.

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Imagine the trickle down impact of foreign visitors in the Tri-State region who are participating in some of the best white water rafting trips in the world, hunting or fishing excursions or seeking out the roots of their expatriate Scots-Irish-Welsh ancestors.

The Travel Promotion Act will for the first time create a public-private partnership to promote travel to the United States, and help us compete with other countries by sending more welcoming messages to our friends around the world. And it will be done at no cost to American taxpayers. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates it will reduce the deficit by $425 million over 10 years.

Debate on this legislation will continue for several days and several amendments may be offered.

Some opponents of travel promotion will likely offer amendments to harm the program’s efficacy while others may try to attach pet projects to the legislation that have nothing to do with travel promotion. Our best chance to see this passed will be the result an industry-wide push to urge support from Senators across all 50 states.

I encourage you to contact your Senators and urge them to cosponsor and VOTE YES on S. 1023, the Travel Promotion Act. Please visit, read the material carefully then click on the “Take Action Now” and submit your views and comments to your elected official.

Senate passage has the potential to fast-track the bill to enactment. President Obama, a co-sponsor of the bill last year, has shown support for the bill and will likely sign it if it reaches his desk.

Let’s tell Congress that we want to bring money into the country and not just bail out struggling domestic entities.